This title was first published in 2000: An original and thought-provoking analysis of modern initiatives in the tropical rain forest. While issues such as logging, eco-timber, eco-tourism have been widely analyzed from an outsider’s perspective, this book considers them from the local people’s viewpoint, in terms of a long history of the rainforest uses. The authors demonstrate that the relationship of indigenous people to the tropical forest is not essentially timeless, nor is it primarily spiritual or mystical. It is in fact firmly connected to modern realities, while still being rooted in historical beliefs and practices. Standing at the intersection of anthropology, historical geography and rainforest ecology, and also at the interface of the local and the global, this ethnographically grounded study dispels a number of commonly held assumptions. It reveals how processes of ’impact’ are actually two-way interactions, as local communities in Melanesia incorporate industries like logging into rapidly evolving post-colonial society and economy.
’This scholarly monograph furthers considerably our understanding of farming and forestry in the Melanesian region…It is an exemplary study, setting today’s practices and problems in historical perspective. All persons interested in environmental issues in the Pacific region should consult this book, as a timely addition to the literature. Books of this stature demonstrate that pronouncements that the thoroughly researched monograph is dead are premature, they are the bedrock of serious scholarship.’ Professor Paul Sillitoe, University of Durham, UK ’In Islands of Rainforest an anthropologist and biologist join their knowledge to that of the local people living in the forests, allowing us for the first time to know a tropical rainforest from the inside, as a lived environment, with history. This truly interdisciplinary viewpoint also makes better able to judge the fractured narratives that reach us from those presently contesting for a share in the forests’ resources.’ Frederick Barth '…will repay careful reading by anyone who wishes to understand something of the complexity of Melanesia in general and of the Solomon Islands in particular.' Pacific Economic Bulletin '…possibly the most comprehensive study of a single Solomons society published in recent years…this book is successful in documenting the great complexities in the dynamics of the struggle for resources and "development" in this particular society, but the points made are relevant much more widely…for some readers there may be too much detail on some topics, but this also makes the book a valuable reference source.' Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography 'The authors have used a wide range of research techniques to bring these issues home in a highly effective manner…they have produced a superb study.' The Geographical Journal
Contents: Conceptualising the rainforest; Conceptualising Melanesian agroforestry; Life on the lands of Marovo; Above the seashore: land use in Marovo; The wet and the dry: Marovo agroforestry at European contact; The great transformations,1880-1910; Colonialism, coconut overlay and the ’age of development’; Towards the twenty-first century: adapting the indigenous system; The forest as commodity: selling logs to Asia; After logging: reforestation - or what?; Small is beautiful?: steps towards sustainable forestry; Rumours of utopia: conservation and eco-tourism; Epilogue: rainforest narratives; Bibliography; Index.
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